We caught up with Kieran Dallison, 2012 Gilt Group All-Star Scholar and 2011 CFDA Scholarship Award winner to hear about his journey from fashion design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology to Associate Designer at ICB.
How did it feel to see your collection being sold on Gilt.com?
SURREAL. I got calls from friends and family members across the country saying “I just bought a blouse!” It was such an exciting experience to see these people who are so dear to me wearing clothes I’ve designed was so wonderful. It’s why I went into fashion design.
What’s it like seeing someone wearing one of your Gilt.com designs?
Clothes are an extension of who we are, it speaks more than we can. When I see friends or family members wearing something I’ve designed, I can’t help but feel really flattered.
How did school prepare you for working in the fashion industry?
A great deal, though I’ve always thought that it was more about what I put into it, than what I expected to be given. It was a tough environment, but it taught me to be efficient about the work I create, without sacrificing on the quality of work.
Did you intern while in school, how was that experience?
YES! For years and years. From my sophomore year until I graduated, I was never without an internship. It was SO vital to my success both in school and beyond. You see really how this industry works, and what to expect upon graduating.
What’s it like moving from a school environment where you have the freedom to focus on your own design to working for a brand under the direction of a designer’s vision?
It’s so exciting. I’m very fortunate in that I work under someone like Prabal, who has, in a way been a great mentor for me even back when I was interning for his company. He’s keenly intelligent yet also very inspiring, and has shed so much light on to running a business that I wasn’t able to learn in school.
What was your decision process like in choosing your first job out of school?
Nobody can prepare you for that “day after graduation” feeling of “OMG… what do I do now?!” Getting over that, and finding out what path you want to take yourself on is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do so far in my professional career. I’m lucky enough to like the place I ended up.
Do you have any mentors who have helped you throughout this transition from school to industry?
I know I’ve already said this, but Prabal has been such a great source of mentorship for me. I really don’t have enough great things to say about him. Besides that, though, I’ve got a great circle of friends that I find so inspiring and exciting. Sharing our experiences with one another has been such a big help throughout this process.
Why did you move to New York?
For school really, and to go into design. I was born and raised in Northern Arizona. I’d never been to New York before moving here, but I knew I wanted to go into fashion design, so it just had to work! Now I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.
What is some advice you can give to design students?
It’s so important to not expect things to just happen for you. Always put your best into your work, but know that what you do outside of class, through internships/volunteering/etc is likely where you’ll gain the most important education. My professors wouldn’t like me saying so, but it’s true in my case.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In a REALLY great apartment… with a dog. The rest is TBD.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I love walking around the city – epic walks. There’s so much to be seen here, that I always seem to find something interesting…
If you could design an outfit for anyone in the world, who would it be?
WAY too many people to name here, but I’d love to design for anyone who is on the move, making things happen, going about their day-to-day life but who still wants to look incredible doing so. … That, and my mom. (I hope that’s not too cheesy.)